Twenty years of Macintosh - a well done retrospect about the Apple Macintosh presented in a series of posters, annotated with excellent topical links for further reading.
The Perfume of Garbage: an archaeology of the world trade centers (pdf). What do the the godfather of garbology, a leading post-modern archaeological theorist (blog), and a "space archaeologist"(cf. space junk) think about the WTC? Obviously as a ruin and as an archaeological site - but much more. An intriguing analysis placing the WTC ruins into archaeological context, and, most particularly, responding to the Smithsonian's exhibition of artifacts from the events of September 11, 2001. Also, a commentary (pdf) responding to garbage, space and the WTC. And yes, garbology goes well beyond Mick Jagger ephemera.
The Exploring 20th century London project draws on some 8000 items from the Museum of London, Transport Museum, Jewish Museum and the Museum of Croydon. Material includes photos, drawings, posters, artefacts, sound files etc. Browse/search by theme, timeline and location. [sitemap]
The Virtual Gramophone. A massive database of early Canadian 78 RPM recordings, now available in mp3 and rm format. Over 13,000 titles available, freely downloadable. Includes biographical notes on the artists, notes on the history of Canadian recording, interesting technical notes on media conversion, a few videos from the olde dayes, and podcasts. This collection is particularly strong on Quebecois and Acadien folk/fiddle music. Courtesy of the Library and Archives Services of the Government of Canada. Mentioned once before in passing, five years ago on Metafilter, but much improved since them realaudio only days.
Tetris - From Russia with Love (Google Video) A BBC documentary about Tetris and its creator Alexey Pajitnov.
Empire Falls. "They called it 'the American Century,' but the past hundred years actually saw a shift away from Western dominance. Through the long lens of Edward Gibbon's history, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Rome 331 and America and Europe 2006 appear to have more than a few problems in common." By Niall Ferguson, whose views on the American hegemony have been discussed previously.
101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived is a book chronicling the most impactful (non-religious) fictional characters throughout history. While they only tease with the first 50 characters on the book's homepage, the hard hitting investigative journalists at USA Today have uncovered the entire 101 for your arguing enjoyment.
We're familiar with Miss Manners work but wouldn't dream of being familiar with Miss Manners herself.
Conversing with the matchless Judith Martin I know you are all familiar with the work of the inimitable (if syndicated) Judith Martin, alias Miss Manners, but I dared to presume that you have not come across this 2005 interview with her. In it she discusses the process of becoming Miss Manners, the cyclical nature of etiquette, her historical predecessors, sumptuary laws in Renaissance-era Venice, and the respective natures of aristocratic and democratic etiquette. Fascinating read.
Fifty years ago, on October 23, 1956, Hungarians rose up in a violent revolt against the Soviet occupation and Communist domination of their government and country. The revolt was not materially supported by NATO or its allies, and - given the timing - was doomed to failure. Today, many of the heroes are forgotten. After 16 years of democratic government, Hungarian politics is still bitterly divided and Hungarians are unable to celebrate this anniversary with a single united National ceremony.
The largely forgotten holocaust of the Ukrainian people began when Stalin imposed collectivism upon the farms, sealing state borders & refusing any seed grain until ficticious and unattainable production goals were met. The Ukrainian upper class were executed, the peasantry left to starve to death. In all, seven million people died, one out of every four citizens. At this Ukranian art site, a collection of stamps commemorating the event & a gallery of "genocide art" continue to speak for the dead.
One Day in History is a national blogging event organised by the History Matters campaign in the UK. They want UK citizens (or anyone with UK ties) to blog a diary entry about their day today (17 October). The entries will be archived at the British Library, creating a snapshot of everyday life in 2006 for the bemusement of future generations.
"As the Arabs see the Jews" by His Majesty King Abdullah, The American Magazine, November, 1947. This fascinating essay, written by King Hussein’s grandfather King Abdullah, appeared in the United States six months before the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
The Automat was a remarkable, culturally ubiquitous part of the history of both Philadelphia and New York City. The basic concept wasn't unusual, but the Art Deco style was unique. Now, BAMN! Food has revived the concept and the name.
Kitty litter was invented in 1946. Birds were the first pets to have their own full lines of products. Canned dog food first appeared in the 1910s. Lots of interesting stuff [wav] at the University of South Carolina's Pets in America site.
Around A.D. 800, the storied Caliph Haroun Al-Raschid sent a diplomatic delegation some two thousand miles from Baghdad to Aachen, the seat of Charlemagne's empire. Among the many gifts for the Frankish ruler that accompanied the delegation was Abul-Abbas, the first recorded elephant north of the Alps.
Peale’s Mastodon by Paul Semonin. "The skeleton preoccupied American patriots for another reason less scientific in nature–one which helps to explain why its bones were eagerly sought after by the Founding Fathers during and after the Revolutionary War. For many Americans, the great beast had become a symbol of the new nation’s own conquering spirit–an emblem of overwhelming power in a psychologically insecure society." An interesting article about Americans trying to understand mammoths, from Common-Place, the web magazine of early American history. Semion wrote a book on the topic, American Monster.
Historic Glass Bottles. Bill Lindsey of the BLM created a tremendous resource to assist you in identifying and dating most utilitarian glass bottles and jars produced in the United States and Canada between the early 1800s and 1950s. Check out information on glassmaking, bottle dating, and bottle types. Of particular interest to me are the pages on liquor, wine, and beer bottles.
The Kameny Papers Project preserved and presents the papers of gay rights pioneer Franklin Kameny, who had activists picketing the White House in 1965, well before Stonewall. The website includes a nice archive of his papers, including correspondence, a small photo gallery, and some charming hate mail from members of Congress. See also the Franklin Kameny pages at the Rainbow History Project. Yesterday, the Library of Congress accepted Kameny's papers. [via Andrew Sullivan]
America's worst school violence ever was not a recent event, but the Bath School disaster of 1927. Andrew Kehoe, a school board member upset with his tax bill, used dynamite and some pyrotol from WWI-era military surplus to blow himself up along with the elementary school of Bath Township, Michigan, leaving 45 dead and 58 injured. See a 1927 book on the disaster, a list of victims, the coroner's inquest, a historical marker, a memorial park, an oral history from a witness, and a 1920s KKK rant denouncing Kehoe as an agent of the Roman Catholic conspiracy.
Peekskill Riots The Peekskill Riots were anti-communist riots (with anti-black undertones) in the city of Peekskill, New York in 1949. The catalyst for the rioting was an announced concert by black singer Paul Robeson, who was well known for his strong stand on civil rights and his communist sympathies. The concert, organized as a benefit for the Civil Rights Congress, was scheduled to take place on August 27. Before Robeson arrived, a mob of locals attacked concertgoers...many names you might recall were involved in this blot on American history, and Howard Fast, the novelist, recalled his involvement in his book Being Red (1990), Howard Fast's memoir of his life on the left. Additionally, some later writers recalled the involvement of relatives and/or friends.. Pete Seeger, present during the riot, wrote a song about it Later, gathering some of the rocks tossed at the lefty participants of the concert, he used the "ammo" to build a chimney on the cabin where he lived. The Lefty -sympathizing wonderful actress Judy Holliday was summoned before the congressional committe in charge of rooting out communists during the anti-communist days, and gave a lengthy testimony about herself and many others. And though the riots were sparked in part by local newspapers, editoriallizing against the "visitors" to their serene area, they and the good citizens of Peekskill quickly tried to ignore, forget, or bury lthe disgraceful riots. But the memory lives on for some, and this sad event remains memorialized, a reminder perhaps of what hate, aggression, and just plain nastiness can bring about.
Tom Vague's History Walk (PDF downloads) of the Notting Hill district is an evocative roll call of books, films, personalities, restaurants, anecdotes and a timeline strung together to cover the period 1950 to 2005. [whet your appetite inside]
Did you ever wonder what a Block 1 Apollo guidance computer looked like? Was grandpa a gunner in the Imperial German Air Force ? Maybe he sold a pioneer some laxatives? Perhaps you're just interested in a high tech Japanese Cameras? Find images of these items and more! at The Smithsonian Air and Space eMuseum
WWII STUG Not sure how many people saw the post about the T34 pulled out of a peat bog a couple of weekends ago, but here is another story about German tank this time. Pulled out of the mud in the Czeck Republic. Decent amount of pictures with this one too.
History of the Button, a weblog devoted to 'tracing the history of interaction design through the history of the button, from flashlights to websites and beyond'. This presentation [4.5MB .pdf] provides a quick-fire pictorial history of the things we push to do stuff.
Picture-History.com has "thousands of the most important photographs of the last 150 years", organised by collections and themes.
Cigar Box Labels are among the finest works of commercial art ever produced. Package designs proliferated during the 1800s, thanks to the development of the stone lithography technique. "Each label could involve a dozen highly skilled specialists,, take a month to create, and cost upwards of $6000.00 (in 1900 dollars) to produce." Images range from racy to rustic to romantic to racist, offering a glimpse into the changing popular fascinations of the 19th and 20th centuries.
I sometimes look up at the bit of blue sky
High over my head, with a tear in my eye.
Surrounded by walls that are too high to climb,
Confined like a felon without any crime...
I sometimes look up at the bit of blue sky
High over my head, with a tear in my eye.
Surrounded by walls that are too high to climb,
Confined like a felon without any crime...
Currie Ballard, a historian in Oklahoma, has just made what he calls “the find of a lifetime”—33 cans of motion picture film dating from the 1920s that reveal the daily lives of some remarkably successful black communities.A Find of a Lifetime
Twelve different short excerpts of the film are linked
On Wednesday, the US House of Representatives' Committee on International Relations adopted a bipartisan resolution to ask the Japanese government to formally apologize for sexually enslaving up to 200,000 "comfort women" in Imperial brothels during its colonial occupation of Asia from 1932 through the end of World War II. Many were tortured and raped, and only about 30% survived WWII. Japan has stated repeatedly that even though the brothels were established by military policy, the imperial government was not directly involved in operating them. Taking responsibility would be an admission that they committed war crimes -- slavery and trafficking in women and children -- and could give victims a legal basis to sue for reparations. H Res. 759 does not ask Japan to provide reparations, but it does push them to unambiguously acknowledge what happened and educate future generations, (full text) rather than continue the current practice of denying what really happened. Previously on MeFi.
Alex Ramsey's journal gives an account of his journey westward to join the 1849 Gold Rush, a laborious trek of no more than twenty-five miles a day which ended in illness and disappointment. "I am now convinced that I done very wrong in coming here with the hope of bettering my pecuniary condition alone and I now declare and humbly ask God to enable me to perform my promise that if I am again permitted to return to a land of peace and quietude, that I will strive to be content." From the Wyoming State Archives' Document Photo Gallery.
Images of Atlantic City Boardwalk from R.C. Maxwell. Photographs taken to give client's an idea of the traffic that would see their billboards, provide a record of the people who have thronged to the boardwalk since the early 1900's.
Japan in America: the Turn of the Twentieth Century - an exhibit of ads, cartoons, art and other popculture artifacts from the decades leading up to WWI. (image menu is at the bottom of the page)
Donald Rumsfeld's recent speech at the American Legion Convention has revived interest in the 1938 Munich pact between Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler and its use as an analogy in foreign policy debates. Military historian Jeffrey Record weighs in with Appeasement Reconsidered: Investigating the Mythology of the 1930s. Michael Cairo examines how analogical reasoning based on "the lesson of Munich" influenced the first Gulf War and Clinton's intervention in Kosovo. Juan Cole argues against "the crock of appeasement" as applied to the Middle East, whereas MacGregor Duncan claims that the Munich analogy has caused us to underestimate the diplomatic value of appeasement. Finally, Pat Buchanan claims the Islamo-fascist label is historically inaccurate (or is he worried that non-Islamic fascists get a bad rap?).
The Great War: "People at the time experienced it differently. We may think they were misinformed and deluded, and perhaps they were, or maybe we have become incredibly cynical and mistrusting. What were once considered to be civic virtues are now thought to be quaint anachronisms at best or grand delusions at worst. Things change." The site proffers an incredible variety of popular-press articles and imagery concerning the unfortunate European events of 1914 to 1918.
The Secret History of Hacking [google video from a C4 documentary] is a fun romp through the exploits of Steve Wozniak, John Draper (a.k.a. Captain Crunch) and Kevin Mitnick. [via]
After the Romans left Britain was divided into a number of Celtic kingdoms that fought with each other and, increasingly, with the Germanic invaders we know as "Anglo-Saxons." The most famous alleged defender of Celtic Britain, of course, is King Arthur, but he's more myth than history. What catches my imagination is The Gododdin (Welsh original, by Aneurin), an epic lament for the band of men who gathered at Eiddyn (Edinburgh, main town of Gododdin) around the year 600 and headed south for a last-ditch battle against the Saxons at Catraeth (probably Catterick in northern Yorkshire), where they were wiped out. One contingent was from Elmet (Elfed in the poem), a kingdom that had been holding the line against the invaders in what's now Yorkshire; once Elmet was conquered, there was no stopping them. And all of this history was basic to the poetry of David Jones, one of the best unknown poets of the previous century, and important to one of the best known, Ted Hughes (book with photos). "Men went to Catraeth, familiar with laughter. The old, the young, the strong, the weak."
Forgotten vocabulary. Words and phrases from an earlier era, the early Nineteenth century. Some slang too. (via the Presurfer)
Ancient walls built as a defence against marauders provide a rich source of pickings for relic hunters (a photo essay).
That's the Sound of the Man Working on the Chain Gang Among all genres of American folk music, prison songs may be the most viscerally compelling. They evolved from plantation songs and field hollers of slaves in the American South before the civil war (whose origins can in turn be traced to patterns found in the music of West Africa) but their tone and content is quite different. Limitless in length, bitter and pained, offering little hope of freedom or redemption, these songs were first heard during Reconstruction. Harsh and unevenly enforced laws incarcerated legions of black American men, consigning them to long sentences of labor for minor offenses like insult, fistfighting, and shoplifting. To shore up a tanking Southern economy, prisons leased convict labor to plantation owners as a low-cost replacement for slave labor. When reform efforts brought that to an end, state governments became the contractors. Sweetheart deals awarded lucrative contracts to prisons to provide labor for rebuilding the railroads and highways of the war-destroyed South. Slavery in all but name, these work conditions gave rise to a body of music that is one of the most significant antecedents of the blues. In hundreds of variants, cadenced to axe-fall, hoe stroke, or the drop of a maul, the songs set a working pace a man could sustain from dawn to dusk, while remaining fast enough to satisfy an armed 'Captain' on horseback.
Iraqi peacekeepers sent to the Scottish border... 1600 years ago. The Notitia Dignitatum, the Roman equivalent of an organisation chart for the imperial bureaucracy in the fifth century, contains a reference to soldiers from the Tigris stationed at Hadrian's Wall. More on the Notitia here; more on Hadrian's Wall here, including a 3D tour of a fort near the Wall, and tablets discovered at another fort (including a request by a commanding officer for "more beer").
McKinley Assassination Ink: "The goal [...]: to gather the largest possible selection of full-text primary source documents relating to the assassination of William McKinley and the immediate aftermath of that event, including the succession of Theodore Roosevelt to the presidency and the incarceration, trial, and execution of [anarchist] assassin Leon Czolgosz."
Phisick - Beautifully presented historical medical instruments. Check out the French Nasal Rectificateur. Take a look these ear trumpets too: 1, 2, 3, 4. [Click on the images in the top strip for alternate views and close-ups]
The Domesday Book is online. This book is "a great land survey from 1086, commissioned by William the Conqueror to assess the extent of the land and resources being owned in England at the time, and the extent of the taxes he could raise. The information collected was recorded by hand in two huge books, in the space of around a year." You can browse it here. The site also has some background info both on England at the time and the book itself.
Auroras have had many explanations throughout history. Now, science has answered many questions, thanks to spending a lot of time in Antarctica taking time-lapse films.
Nauru was once a lovely place. Despite its small size and isolation, Nauru's story is one of monumental dimensions. Things have gotten pretty grim. But it looks like Naurans may get a reprieve of sorts. Will it be pretty?